Harsh regulations irk female students in university dorms


By Fatima Al-Dubais and Ziyad Al-Fifi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — "Our vision at the university is to provide a stimulating environment for faculty, students and staff." This is the first things students see when looking at the vision and goals most of public universities.

But once they begin to explore the university's internal systems, especially the student housing systems, they discover that they cannot produce a stimulating learning environment. The situation is based on "mistrust" between the housing administration and the students. The regulations of the student housing system destroy any possibility of building a path of trust and responsibility among students, according to several complaints. Leaving the dorm is complicated, as well as entering it after vacations and term breaks. In addition, a number of students are mocking the housing laws as being more severe than prison laws. It is important to note that a number of universities do not display regulations and conditions of student residence on their websites.

A university official acknowledged that internal regulations are in the domain of the universities and outside the purview of the Ministry of Education. Yet students criticize some regulations not allowing them to leave dorms; entry and exit is not permitted on the same day more than once except in cases where the housing administration is convinced that it is "emergency". The authorized times are from 6 a.m. to 10 pm.

The university itself requires that the student's guardian or his representative visits the dorm to let the student leave during authorized times. The supervisor must also record the exit data of the student, which is given to the guardian in the exit register of students.

The rest of the universities do not look different in procedures that female students must adhere to when leaving and entering their dorms. A student is prevented from leaving the house without her guardian. However, King Saud University offers an exception. University dorms allow — according to housing regulations — students to exit with the guardian's authorization provided to the administration along with a copy of the train ticket. However, delay in returning without reason makes the administration liable to" discipline" the student by the disciplining committee.

A student cannot shop in periodic trips organized by the housing department without the consent of her guardian. The shopping bill is also a prerequisite for allowing the student to buy from the representatives of the companies who carry goods to the residence. Those who authorize them are liable to punishment if they do not notify the management of dorms.

Some universities also require that a student sign a "disclosure of lodging" on a regular basis. If the student refuses to sign, she will be punished for her refusal. In addition to the late attendance after 11 p.m., the disciplining is also required.

The Princess Noura University prohibits an unmarried student from leaving the dorm with strangers except with the consent of guardian. The consent of the guardian is the only way to visit the student after approval. The suspension of pictures or drawings on walls, doors and glass without prior permission is prohibited at the Women's University.

Umm Al-Qura University prohibits students from freely moving inside the dorms after 12 midnight. It also prevents the door to be locked during sleep. The regulations stipulate that the student's face must be covered while leaving the university housing and entering the bus.

Students who spoke to Okaz newspaper preferred to remain anonymous because they are still residents in the university dorms.